Carlos Alberto Montaner
(FIRMAS PRESS) In 1958, two American writers, William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, coined a pithy phrase: The Ugly American. That’s what they titled their successful novel, in which they criticized the arrogant diplomats and U.S. businessmen who, with their unpleasant behavior, provoked a profound antipathy in the imaginary Asian country where the plot unfolded. Naturally, neither author was anti-American; on the contrary, both condemned that phenomenon because they felt it benefited Soviet imperialism.
In Latin American, people are beginning to talk about The Ugly Spaniard. Venezuelans, for example, reproach the two largest Spanish banks for having given a considerable amount of money to Hugo Chávez for the campaign that took him to the presidency in late 1998. What business did those institutions have financing the rope with which democracy would gradually be choked in that country? It is true that many Venezuelan entrepreneurs committed the same suicidal stupidity, but from a respectable multinational bank one expects a behavior that’s more sensible and respectful of the international legal standards.